Blessed thistle

Cnicus benedictus or carduus benedictus , Compositae. This plant is also known as holy thistle, spotted thistle and benedict thistle.

The roots, aerial parts and seeds of the plant are used.

The roots are dug in early summer or autumn when the leaves have dried. It should be dried carefully in the shade.

Functions of blessed thistle

Blessed thistle:

  • can be taken to relieve painful periods and menstrual headaches and it can be used to bring on delayed periods (it should therefore be avoided during pregnancy). It is excellent for increasing milk production in nursing mothers and can be helpful during menopause for heavy periods.
  • contains bitters that will enhance appetite and aid digestion. it is a good remedy for anorexia, indigestion, wind, colic and any conditions associated with a sluggish liver such as headaches, lethargy and irritability.
  • has an antimicrobial action and is useful for enhancing the immune system.
  • has also been shown to have an anti-neoplastic effect, thus hindering the formation of abnormal cells. This is useful in the treatment of cancers.
  • acts as an antiseptic and can be used to stop bleeding in cuts and speed the healing of wounds.

Notes on blessed thistle

  • Do not use this herb internally during pregnancy.
  • Strong infusions may cause vomiting and diarrhea.


Decoction: put 1 teaspoonful of the root in a cup of water, bring to the boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes. If using the leaves pour a cup of boiling water onto 1 teaspoonful of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. The infusion should be taken three times per day.

Tincture: take 1-3 ml of the tincture three times per day.



Duke, J. A. 2000, Anti-aging Prescriptions. Rodale.

Hoffmann, D. 2000, The New Holistic Herbal. Element Pub.

Hoffmann, F. and Manning M. 2002, Herbal Medicine and Botanical Medical Fads. The Haworth Press.

Marcin, M. M. 1990, Herbal Teas: Growing Harvesting and Brewing. Collins.

Mills, S. Y. 1989, The A-Z of Modern Herbalism: A Comprehensive Guide to Practical Herbal Therapy. Thorson.




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